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Encyclopedia > Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a court-like body assembled in South Africa after the end of Apartheid. Anybody who felt they had been a victim of violence could come forward and be heard at the TRC. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from prosecution. The hearings made international news and many sessions were broadcast on national television. A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ... Look up Amnesty in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The TRC was a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa and, despite some flaws, is generally - though not universally - regarded as successful.[citation needed]


Creation and Mandate

The TRC was set up in terms of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No 34 of 1995, and was based in Cape Town. The mandate of the commission was to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, reparation and rehabilitation. The TRC had a number of high profile members: Archbishop Desmond Tutu (chairman), Dr Alex Boraine (Deputy Chairman), Mary Burton, Advocate Chris de Jager, Bongani Finca, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Sisi Khampepe, Richard Lyster, Wynand Malan, Reverend Khoza Mgojo, Hlengiwe Mkhize, Dumisa Ntsebeza (head of the Investigative Unit), Wendy Orr, Advocate Denzil Potgieter, Mapule Ramashala, Dr Faizel Randera, Yasmin Sooka and Glenda Wildschut. 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... City motto: Spes Bona (Latin: Good Hope) Location of the City of Cape Town in Western Cape Province Province Western Cape Mayor Helen Zille Area  - % water 2,499 km² N/A Population  - Total (2004)  - Density Not ranked 2,893,251 1,158/km² Established 1652 Time zone SAST (UTC+2... In Christianity, an archbishop is an elevated bishop. ... The Most Reverend Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born 7 October 1931) is a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. ... It has been suggested that Barrister#Advocates in Scotland be merged into this article or section. ... The Reverend is an honorary prefix added to the names of Christian clergy and ministers. ...


The work of the TRC was accomplished through three committees:

  • The Human Rights Violations Committee investigated human rights abuses that took place between 1960 and 1994.
  • The Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee was charged with restoring victims' dignity and formulating proposals to assist with rehabilitation.
  • The Amnesty Committee considered applications from individuals who applied for amnesty in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Public hearings of the Human Rights Violations Committee and the Amnesty Committee were held at many venues around the country.

The commission was empowered to grant amnesty to those who committed abuses during the apartheid era, as long as the crimes were politically motivated, proportionate, and there was full disclosure by the person seeking amnesty. Look up Amnesty in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

To avoid victor's justice, no side was exempt from appearing before the commission. The commission heard reports of human rights violations and considered amnesty applications from all sides, from the apartheid state to the liberation forces including the African National Congress. The African National Congress (ANC) is a Communist political party, and has been South Africas governing party supported by a tripartite alliance between itself, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) since the establishment of majority rule in May 1994. ...

5392 people were refused amnesty and 849 were granted amnesty, out of 7112 petitioners (there were a number of additional categories, such as withdrawn).


The commission brought forth many witnesses giving testimony about the secret and immoral acts committed by the Apartheid Government, the liberation forces including the ANC, and other forces for violence that many say would not have come out into the open otherwise.

On October 28, 1998 the Commission presented its report, which condemned both sides for committing atrocities. October 28 is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 64 days remaining. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ...


Due to the perceived success of this approach to dealing with human-rights violations after extensive political change, other countries have instituted similar commissions, though not always with the same scope or the allowance for charging of those currently in power.

Various films have been made about the commission:

  • The documentary Long Night's Journey Into Day (2000)
  • The South African feature film Forgiveness (2004) directed by Ian Gabriel and featuring Arnold Vosloo as a disgraced ex-cop seeking forgiveness from the family of the activist he killed under the Apartheid regime. Also starring Quanita Adams and Zane Meas.
  • Also Zulu Love Letter (2004) directed by Ramadan Suleman and starring Pamela Nomvete.

This article is about the year 2000. ... Forgiveness (2004) is a South African movie dealing with the effects of the apartheid system and the difficulty of reconciliation. ... Arnold Vosloo (born June 16, 1962 in Pretoria, South Africa) is a South African actor, now a naturalized American, best known for playing the title role in the 1999 film The Mummy, and its sequel, He began his acting career in the South Africa theatre where he won several Dalro... This is a list of film-related events in 2004. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress. ... Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou in Dirty Pretty Things. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Country of My Skull is a nonfiction book by Antjie Krog primarily about the findings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). ... // Antjie Krog (1952– ) is a prominent South African poet, academic and writer. ... Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor. ... Juliette Binoche (born March 9, 1964) is a French Academy Award-winning actress. ...


A 1998 study by South Africa's Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation & the Khulumani Support Group,[1] which surveyed several hundred victims of human rights abuse during the Apartheid era, found that most felt the TRC had failed to achieve reconciliation between the black and white communities. Most felt that justice was a prerequisite for reconciliation rather than an alternative to it, and that the TRC had been weighted in favour of the perpetrators of abuse.[2]

While former president F.W. de Klerk appeared before the commission and reiterated his apology for the suffering caused by apartheid, many black South Africans were angered at amnesty being granted for human rights abuses committed by the apartheid government. This criticism stems from misunderstanding the mandate of the commission, which was to uncover the truth about past abuse, using amnesty as a mechanism, rather than to punish past crimes.[3] President F.W. de Klerk Frederik Willem de Klerk (born March 18, 1936) is a former President of South Africa, serving from September 1989 to May 1994. ...

Opposition to the TRC came from more than one side. Prominent criticism came from the family of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who was killed by the security police, opposed the amnesty process on the grounds that it would rob them of justice.[4] On the other side of the spectrum, former apartheid State President P.W. Botha defied a subpoena to appear before the commission, calling it a "circus". His defiance resulted in a fine and suspended sentence, but these were overturned on appeal.[5] Stephen Biko Stephen Bantu Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977) was a noted nonviolent anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s. ... From 1961 to 1994, South Africas head of state was called the State President or Staatspresident in Afrikaans. ... P.W. Botha Pieter Willem Botha, (born January 12, 1916) commonly known as P.W. and as die groot krokodil (the great crocodile) was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984 and State President of South Africa from 1984 to 1989. ...

See also

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Vergangenheitsbewältigung is a composite German word that describes the process of dealing with the past (lit: Vergangenheit = past; Bewältigung = management, coming to terms with, mastering), which is perhaps best rendered in English as struggle to come to terms with the past. (The German word Geschichtsaufarbeitung is more or... The Truth Commission, was a former stable in the WWE. It consisted of Kurrgan the Interrigator, Recon, Sniper, Tank and their manager; The Jackal. ...


  1. ^ Survivors' Perceptions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Suggestions for the Final Report. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Retrieved on 2006-12-26.
  2. ^ Storey, Peter (September 10-17, 1997). "A Different Kind of Justice: Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa". The Christian Century. Retrieved on 2006-12-26.
  3. ^ Barrow, Greg (October 1998). South Africans reconciled? Special Report. BBC. Retrieved on 2006-12-26.
  4. ^ Stephen Bantu Biko. South African History Online. Retrieved on 2006-12-26.
  5. ^ Boddy-Evans, Alistair. PW Botha - A Biography. About.com. Retrieved on 2006-12-26.

The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ...

External links

  • The commission's home page
  • Amnesty hearings and transcripts
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (PDF)
  • Alternate source of the Commission Report; includes Volume 7, "Victim Findings"
  • List of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) operations – from ANC
  • BBC Special Report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation: Truth and Reconciliation – Lessons from the South African context
  • "Traces of Truth": Documents relating to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • History and Reconciliation -- an online resource for those interested in reconciliation in societies divided by historical conflicts and human rights abuses

  Results from FactBites:
Truth Commissions Digital Collection: U.S. Institute of Peace (4150 words)
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The commission was presented as a compromise solution, the lesser of two evils to both those on the left and right of the political spectrum (Barahona de Brito 1993).
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